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DeMello

1997 Jeep Cherokee - Sell or Keep?

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I am the original  owner of a  '97 Jeep Cherokee with a manual transmission and 90K miles on it. It runs fine but needs some work and the check engine light just came on. I am trying to decide whether I should keep the car or sell it and would really appreciated some advice. Could this car ever become a "classic" and be worth something or will I just keep pouring money into it for no reason?

 

Thanks

Edited by DeMello
fixed typo (see edit history)

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We just had a vehicle maintenance light come on..  Took the car in..

 

The car has 4000 miles on it...

 

It was for the tires to be  rotated.. 

 

Edited by nick8086 (see edit history)

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Mr. or Mrs. DeMello, people keep old cars for a variety of reasons.

A 1997 Jeep Cherokee wouldn't be kept because of its potential value;

but people keep cars for other reasons, such as sentimentality.

If it's a vehicle that you really appreciate, or one that brings back

family memories, you may want to keep it and gradually fix it up,

so that it will appear as new as when you first got it.

 

Cars become "antique" when they are 25 years old, but reaching 

that age has no effect on a vehicle's value.  Some cars take many decades

to become desirable, and some never become valuable.  One can never

predict what cars will become popular and increase in price;  though

convertibles, high-performance cars, and some 2-door cars and

some luxury cars have become desirable faster than others in the past.  

A 4-door sedan from the 1960's, for example, is an interesting piece of history

and a nice collector car, but even today--50 years after it was built--it has

a very modest value, even in excellent condition.

 

And to fix up (or restore) a car--nearly any car--costs far more than

what the owner will get out of it in value.  People do it, or have it done,

as a labor of love, because they appreciate automotive history.

 

So I'd recommend you do what you like but not figure on its becoming 

valuable.  There are many other enjoyments beside monetary value!

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)

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It's up to you of course, but there is no reason you can't drive that car another 90,000 miles if you take care of it. You could have a mechanic plug in his diagnostic tool and find out what the light means, or save some money and do it yourself.

 

There are usually 2 ways to do this. There should be some way of making the car display the codes by turning the key on and off several times. This makes the Check Engine Light blink out the code numbers. Then you need to find a list of codes and read them off. I haven't checked but there should be videos on Youtube, and online descriptions of the process

 

The other way is to buy a power cord that plugs into the receptacle near the steering column. I have one that plugs into my laptop and a diagnostic program to go with it. But today there is probably an app for your smart phone or tablet.

 

You can find out what is the matter, and shut off the light yourself.

 

If you decide to keep the car you will probably need to spend a few hundred dollars a year on upkeep. This will be money well spent for cheap transportation as long as you relate it to the miles you drive. But if you look at it as money invested in a car of little value then it doesn't.

 

The question is, do you like the car? Would you be happy to keep driving it? If so, don't be a sucker. Maintain it by the book and drive it as long as possible. You will never get a cheaper transportation bargain.

 

I doubt it will ever have significant collector value.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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Guessing the future, I'd say the the Jeep would become

interesting when it's, say, 50 years old, because

by then most of them will be gone and it will be unusual.

But even then its value may be modest.

 

But maybe it was your first car, or you remember special

family vacations;  or you brought your first child home in that vehicle.

The old-car hobby is grateful to all those who preserved vehicles

that were "unwanted" at the time, but later became preserved parts of history. 

 

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Interesting? Perhaps, Classic, never. It drives me crazy to hear people say "55 Chevy Classic Car or '34 Ford Classic Car. The Classic Car Club of America has a specific listing of car's that are eligible for their club and a Jeep Cherokee will never be on it. Their roster includes some of the classiest vehicles that were ever built. All cars will eventually be antique cars, but few will ever be Classic cars.

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My check engine light came on, I had the oil change place plug in their machine and give me the code for free, (Mr. Lube here in Canada), I googled the code and all that was wrong was a loose gas cap. 

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My son gave me a 1995 Jeep Cherokee 2 door Sports with a 6 inline fuel injected fuel system after using it for about 4 years. I did the following repairs  Replaced the aluminium rad within 2 years from new for him. Since I own it I replaced the alternator, water pump , steering pump, steering ram twice ,both sides front drive shaft cross (u joint) although I never used the front wheel drive, all rubbers pertaining to the stabiliser bar, a windshield and replaced brake pads a few times and rotors once.  2 years ago I decided to change the rotors. This offshore parts dealer offered me a pair of rotor for 45 dollars. He said to me why install expensive  parts. I told him where to get off. I went up the street from him and ordered a pair of rotors from a Delco dealer costing 80 dollars each, made by American racing co.

 

Last year I replaced the callipers, wheel cylinders, linings and pads. Changed the clutch assembly and slave cylinder, brake master cylinder and clutch cylinder, machined the flywheel and replaced the rear main seal, and  the valve cover seal . November last I replaced the stainless steel muffler with another stainless steel muffler. This jeep was custom ordered with full gauges and air condition

When my son bought the Jeep he had it  undercoated and oiled every year and I continued doing it. It has 240 k on it and garaged parked for the winter when I go south. There is not a spot of rust and with original paint. It has a 5 speed manual gearbox and cruises at 100 KM @ 1800 rpm on 5th. The fuel rating is 12 liters to 100 KM.  ABS (God send) brakes . Turns on a dime and easy to drive. I will  give it to my grand daughter who wants to learn to drive standard shift. OH, and I replaced the battery after 7 years. and change the oil twice a year. How much it is worth ? Lucky to get 900 dollars . Now that I am 80 years old my next ride will most likely be an automatic. I will give this jeep to my grand daughter since it is mechanically safe.

To me it is worth a million dollars.     

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I have a '12 Jeep and it is the best tow car I've ever had. Just back from the Lakeland Air Show and spent a week dry camping with the AC in my 27' trailer going every day. There was a major technology upgrade in '10 and a minor one in '14. And for me that is the only reason to own a Jeep.

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1 hour ago, padgett said:

I have a '12 Jeep and it is the best tow car I've ever had. Just back from the Lakeland Air Show and spent a week dry camping with the AC in my 27' trailer going every day. There was a major technology upgrade in '10 and a minor one in '14. And for me that is the only reason to own a Jeep.

 

What is the tow rating for the '12 Jeep. Seems like you are on the edge of your GVW with a 27' trailer

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Jeep Cherokees are good vehicles. My wife and I bought a new 2-door in 1992 and a 10-year-old pickup version, a Comanche, in 1999. I remember a check something light came on at a mileage similar to yours and the dealer said it was triggered by a certain mileage, not a failure. It may have been the O-2 sensor. When the Comanche hit that mileage, the light never came on, suggesting the odometer had been altered(legal for dealers to do that in Kansas, by the way). Both Jeeps had the same 4.0 L six. 

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On my 95 Cherokee there is a pale triangular light that flashes once  in a while  briefly and go off. It is not a check engine light. It is a systems check light indicating that the systems are working fine. Do not  confuse it with "check engine light".

Harry.

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"The 4.0 Six was the best engine Jeep ever had"

I'll raise you my 3.6. 24 valve DOHC flex fuel 290hp Six & have seen 24-25 mpg on 87 PON. 17-18 towing my trailer at 65. 999,999 mile warranty.

 

If the Merc in my Crossfire ever goes, I'll probably drop in a Pentastar - same trans was used in Wrangler so everything bolts up.

 

ps tow rating is 1,000 lbs more than my trailer weighs when loaded & '14 is another 1,400 lbs. (with factory tow package).

rigc.jpg

Edited by padgett (see edit history)
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On ‎4‎/‎9‎/‎2016 at 10:31 AM, DeMello said:

It runs fine but needs some work and the check engine light just came on. I am trying to decide whether I should keep the car or sell it ...... Could this car ever become a "classic" and be worth something or will I just keep pouring money into it for no reason?

 

I have a 2001 Cherokee Sport and they are already considered something of a "keeper" compared to other 15-20 year old vehicles due to their enduring design, robust mechanicals and good parts availability.  Sound like a salesman?  It is because I work at a Ford/Jeep dealer and would normally have traded up years ago but my wife loves the Cherokee and insists we keep it as long as possible.  If you look around you will probably see many people doing the same--often affluent enough to trade but who choose to keep the old Cherokee.  Pouring money in for no reason?  I have a very good reason--to save the $30,000 buying a new one!  As far as I am concerned your big concern with a late XJ Cherokee is rust--if yours is solid you can just maintain it and keep driving, the 4.0 six is legendary.   

 

Your check engine light could be anything but as Jeff A said it is likely time for your O2 sensor, I also think they automatically set off the light for replacement about 90-100,000 miles and I changed mine myself.  You can buy an OBD II code reader from Auto Zone for $50-60 and plug in to the diagnostic plug under the left side of the dash.  It will give you a code or codes like "P0455" that you then look up and it will tell you what set off the light.  You can then use the unit to turn off the light and the code reader has just paid for itself saving a service visit.  If needed you can also Google the codes for further direction.  Good luck with yours, Todd C        

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Just take your Jeep to your local auto parts chain and they'll run a scan on it and print out the results for free. I usually visit a couple different stores and then compare notes.  Your engine was proudly produced in the old AMC (formerly Nash) plant in Kenosha Wisconsin USA at the north-east corner of 30th avenue and 60th street.  I know, I helped make it!

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17 hours ago, Larry W said:

Your engine was proudly produced in the old AMC (formerly Nash) plant in Kenosha Wisconsin USA at the north-east corner of 30th avenue and 60th street.  I know, I helped make it!

 

Hey Larry, how long did production continue at your plant, through 2003?  Just to praise your handiwork I had a 2000 Grand Cherokee with a 4.0 and then bought my 2001 with the plan to buy it and keep it.  It now has 135,000 miles and I have given it regular oil and filter service, a few cooling system flushes and I think spark plugs about 90,000 miles and the engine has asked for nothing else.  It is a little rough and noisy but I am keeping it as long as possible, thanks, Todd C

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I can't remember exactly when production of the 4.0L inline six ceased, but I'm sure it was when aluminum V6's began appearing in Grand Cherokees.  I know that the reason for the switch was because the cast iron inline six was too heavy to keep up with ever tightening CAFE mileage regulations.  I was once told that the inline six would bolt right into a '65 Rambler ambassador with little or no modification as that's what the engine was originally designed for.  My last day at the plant was October 22, 2010.  All that remains is an empty brownfield and a plaque that tells of where the Jeffery, Nash, American Motors, Chrysler Engine plant once existed. At the museum in Kenosha is the last 4.0L engine off the line.  Everyone signed it, I think my name is near the distributor boss.   Larry W

Edited by Larry W (see edit history)
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If it has the old AMC straight six that is one of the toughest, longest living engines ever made. AMC always made reliable cars but that engine was outstanding. Supposedly when they first started making it, they ran into problems with the machine tools chattering when machining the block. It was cheaper to stiffen the block than replace the tooling so they added some reinforcement to the block casting.

 

When racer Barney Navarro saw it, he decided it would make a good engine to race at the Indy 500, no joke. He built a 199 cu in Rambler six that put out 600HP on alcohol fuel, turbocharged. The reason he picked that engine was that it had the strength to stand high pressure turbocharging, and put out 5 times its designed HP without blowing up.

 

I don't know how long one will last but 200,000 miles should be a cinch if you maintain it by the book.

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Re check engine light and gas cap. I had the same problem with a Dodge minivan. It turned out the plating was worn off the gas filler where the cap contacted it and it had some rust on it. I cleaned off the rust and smoothed it down with sandpaper then coated it with white grease. No more leak, cost almost nothing.

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The inline 4 liter 6 is a reliable engine and will last a long time if maintained with a regular oil change. I drive my Cherokee 8 months for the year mostly in the warm period. I use good quality oil and new filter  every 4 months. Some time around 1987 I bought a chevette (Pontiac version) new from a G M Dealer. The salesman was a Jehover"s  Witnes. In those days selling and buying extra warranty outside of the manufacturer was popular. So I asked him about warranty. He said every manufacturer had its particular pull. Use only this oil and only that thing and make sure you bring the car to the dealership to have it serviced otherwise the manufacturers  warrantee  will be void. HE SAID THE BEST AND CHEEPEST WARANTEE IS REGULAR GOOD QUALITY OIL AND FILTER CHANGE. Do not have to bring it to the dealership. The warrantee was 12 months or 12 thousand miles or whichever comes first. The Japanese put an end to that.  

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My son has a '96 Jeep Cherokee with the 4.0L inline 6-cylinder engine, 2-wheel drive, and solid front axle

We bought it after his prior ride went under in Hurricane Katrina.

 

At the time we bought this Jeep, it had about 225,000 miles on it, but appeared well-maintained, and was affordable.

 

The Cherokee now has probably close to 300,000+  miles on the original engine, transmission, differential, etc. It still starts, drives, and and runs well The only repairs other than replacing brakes and a water pump, was the replacement of a cracked exhaust manifold - and I understand that this is common with theses vehicles. It had been in a few minor collisions, and has been repaired reasonably well, but the air bag was not replaced afterward since he got his Chevy while waiting for the repair.

 

VERY DEPENDABLE, but now he is planning to sell it since he has a great low-mileage 2005? Chevy Trailblazer we picked up locally last year.

 

Anybody interested?

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On 4/12/2016 at 9:19 PM, padgett said:

"The 4.0 Six was the best engine Jeep ever had"

I'll raise you my 3.6. 24 valve DOHC flex fuel 290hp Six & have seen 24-25 mpg on 87 PON. 17-18 towing my trailer at 65. 999,999 mile warranty.

 

If the Merc in my Crossfire ever goes, I'll probably drop in a Pentastar - same trans was used in Wrangler so everything bolts up.

 

ps tow rating is 1,000 lbs more than my trailer weighs when loaded & '14 is another 1,400 lbs. (with factory tow package).

rigc.jpg

I have heard good things about the new 3.6.  After some of it's predecessors it is about time.( the 2.7 comes to mind).. And also good only about all the Hemi's.

Edited by plymouthcranbrook (see edit history)

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Problem is simple. Hemi is a 2 valve cam in iron block engine. Pentastar is a 24 valve all aluminum DOHC with VVT I&e. 260 lb-ft torque at 4800 and 90%  from 1800 to 6400 rpm vs Hemi's 390 lb-ft at 4000 rpm and 90% from 2800 to 5000.

 

What this means is that under load the Pentastar is one gear down from the Hemi at any given speed and has the same tractive effort but is far more economical at a 70 mph/1900 rpm cruise. I consider the Hemi sooo last century.

 

ps Pentatar runs on 87 PON. 89 is recommended for the Hemi so add another 10% premium for the gas.

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